Once a carefree man about town, Daniel Colebrooke has spent most of the last two years familiarizing himself with the duties and responsibilities he inherited when his older brother died unexpectedly. Newly returned to London, Daniel is determined to secure the succession away from his wastrel cousin and finding a proper, demure young lady to become his countess. Since it also happens to be his sister Gretchen's first season, the new earl intends to see her settled in a proper match as well. However, Daniel's carefully laden plans fly out the window when his sister is brought home by a bewitching young woman with an outrageous tale.
Isabella Winslowe may be popular and sought after now, but she remembers how shyness and naivete kept her on the sidelines during her first season. Eager to help others like her, Isabella has created a Reading Society (referred to as the "Wallflowers" Society by some) in order to instill confidence in the quieter debutantes. But nothing prepares Isabella for the shock of finding one of the girls, Lady Gretchen Colebrooke, in her garden standing over the body of Boswell Throckmorten, one of London's most eligible rakes. To make matters worse, Gretchen confesses that during a secret assignation with Boswell, she struck him with a rock when they argued.
Knowing a scandal will ruin not only Gretchen's reputation but her own as well, Isabella arranges for her aunt and the rest of the staff to go out for the day and quickly takes Gretchen home to her brother. Daniel, of course, does not believe a word of the outlandish story he hears and accuses Isabella of creating mischief. His opinion is only reinforced when they go back to the garden to find the body gone. Thoroughly disgruntled with each other, they swear never to cross paths again, but are reunited when they spot the supposedly dead Boswell walking about at a party they are both attending. When Gretchen disappears during the party, the pair find her once again standing over Boswell's body in their host's garden. This time, however, there is a letter opener stuck in his chest. When the body disappears -- yes, again -- Daniel and Isabella are thrust into a temporary partnership to uncover the truth.
Appearing and disappearing bodies, an intrepid heroine and a noble hero -- this story had all the hallmarks of an exciting Regency romp. Unfortunately, the characters themselves prove to be the story's undoing. Isabella runs the gamut from poised and capable to giddy and insecure, while Daniel's constant declarations that Isabella is not the type of woman he is looking to marry -- even as he kisses her -- does not, in my opinion, make him heroic. While some of their encounters are diverting, both hero and heroine lack character development and never truly engage the reader. Meanwhile, a secondary plot involving another couple rings false, and in truth, is totally unnecessary. Amelia Grey continues to show great promise with the intriguing twists and turns of her plots. Unfortunately, A LITTLE MISCHIEF misses the chance to capitalize on its true potential.